• After some surprise performances in the first three days of the playoffs, Thursday was not quite as exciting as the results were all chalk and huge stat lines were few and far between. Let’s take a look at some pending injuries and break down Thursday’s slate.

    Injury Report

    Aaron Gordon sat out Game 2 as he is still nursing a hamstring injury. This is the sixth consecutive game AG has missed and his status for Game 3 is still in question.

    Gary Harris will miss another game Friday with a right hip strain. Harris has not suited up in the bubble yet, and there is still not timetable for his return.

    Patrick Beverly is still dealing with a left calf issue and has been downgraded to doubtful for Friday’s Game 3.

    Rajon Rondo sat out Game 2 as he is still working his way back from right thumb surgery. Prior to the game Frank Vogel had stated Rondo “was still getting his legs under him”, leaving us to believe he should be ready to go in the near future.

    Damian Lillard dislocated his left index finger in the third quarter of their game. The team said X-rays were negative and his status for Game 3 is yet to be determined.

    Rundown

    MIA 109 – IND 100

    Duncan Robinson led the way with a game-high 24 points on just 7-of-8 shooting, all of which came from behind the arc, as the Heat took a commanding 2-0 lead over the Pacers. Victor Oladipo was a game time decision after suffering and eye injury in Game 1 and ended up scoring a team-high 22 points in the loss. Miami, who never trailed in the second half, was hot all night finishing the game shooting 18-35 from deep. Jimmy Butler was able to keep his arch nemesis, TJ Warren, in check allowing Warren to score only 14 points while missing all five of his attempts from 3-point range.

    Key Performances

    Bam Adebayo – seven points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, one block (3-7 FG, 1-2 FT)

    Jimmy Butler – 18 points, seven rebounds, six assists, two steals, five turnovers (5-13 FG, 2-3 3PM)

    Duncan Robinson – 24 points, two rebounds, two assists, one steal (7-8 FG, 7-8 3PM)

    Goran Dragic – 20 points, six assists, three rebounds (9-18 FG, 2-4 3PM)

    TJ Warren – 14 points, six rebounds, three assists (7-15 FG, 0-5 3PM)

    Victor Oladipo – 22 points, four assists, one rebound, two steals, (5-14 FG, 4-11 3PM)

    Malcom Brogdon – 17 points, nine assists, five rebounds (4-14 FG, 7-9 FT)

     

    HOU 111 – OKC 98

    With Russell Westbrook sidelined, James Harden and Eric Gordon combined to shoot 2-21 from deep and the Rockets were still able to cruise to a Game 2 victory. As a team Houston combined to knock down 19 of an NBA-record 56 3-point attempts. The supporting cast carried the Rockets to victory, leading a 17-0 run to take the lead for good late in the third quarter. Seven of the eight Rockets who saw the floor scored in double digits, in including 19 from Danuel House Jr. and 15 for Jeff Green, off the bench. Houston’s stifling defense held Oklahoma City to only 39 second half points. Chris Paul struggled mightily, scoring only 14 points on 6-15 shooting and finishing with a game-worst minus-36 plus-minus. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander did his best to keep OKC in the game, dropping 31 points and grabbing six rebounds but the rest of the supporting cast were unable to provide any offense. Houston counteracts their lack of rim protection by not letting opponents even get to the rim and this style of play has suppressed the Thunder’s offensive attack that was in the bottom half of the league in 3-point percentage during the regular season. The road for the Thunder won’t get much easier as Westbrook is set to return soon, and we have to assume Harden will bounce back to his normal self.

    Key Performances

    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander – 31 points, six rebounds, two assists, one steal (9-17 FG, 3-7 3PM, 10-11 FT)

    Chris Paul – 14 points, six rebounds, two assists, one block (6-15 FG, 2-7 3PM)

    James Harden – 21 points, nine assists, five rebounds, three steals, one block (5-16 FG, 2-11 3PM, 9-9 FT)

    Danuel House Jr. – 19 points, nine rebounds, three assists (6-13 FG, 3-8 3PM)

     

    MIL 111 – ORL 96

    After a shocking Game 1 loss on Tuesday, the Bucks snapped right back into form and dominated the Magic from the opening tip. Giannis Antetokounmpo lead the way with 28 points and 20 rebounds and was a key part of the defensive effort that held the Magic to 35% shooting from the field and only seven made 3-pointers. Nikola Vucevic continued his impressive run, with his second consecutive double-double, dropping 32 points and grabbing 10 boards in the loss. Vucevic was the only Orlando player to score over 12 points. Orlando had a stretch in the first half where they went 1-for-19 from the floor and watched their deficit increase to 23 before halftime. Milwaukee got 20 points from Brook Lopez, and Khris Middleton’s playoff struggles continue as he scored only 2 points on 1-8 shooting. Milwaukee is the far superior team, and this was the type of performance we all expected from the Bucks in this series. It would be surprising if they needed more than the next three games to close it out.

    Key Performances

    Nikola Vucevic – 32 points, 10 rebounds, two assists, one block (13-23 FG, 2-8 3PM)

    Giannis Antetokounmpo – 28 points, 20 rebounds, five assists, seven turnovers (10-23 FG, 1-5 3PM)

    Pat Connaughton – 15 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, two blocks (5-8 3PM)

    Khris Middleton – two points, six assists, five rebounds, (1-8 FG, 0-4 3PM)

     

    LAL 111 – POR 88

    In a crazy turn of events, the Lakers finally made a few shots, while the Blazers actually missed. After two weeks of not so meaningful games, it is probably safe to say the Lakers needed the shocking Game 1 loss to kickstart them into playoff mode. It was wire-to-wire domination for LA, who lead by as much as 32 and held Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum and Carmelo Anthony to a combined 13-36 from the field and only 33 points between them. After hitting only 8-24 shots in Game 1, Anthony Davis put the Lakers on his back and carried them to victory with 31 points, 11 rebounds and impressive defense in the post. LeBron James had a human-like 10 points in his 27 minutes on the court.

    Key Performances

    Anthony Davis – 31 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, one steal, one block (13-21 FG, 3-4 3PM)

    LeBron James – 10 points, seven assists, six rebounds, two steals (4-11 FG, 0-3 3PM)

    Damian Lillard – 18 points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal (6-14 FG, 1-7 3PM)

    CJ McCollum – 13 points, five rebounds, three assists (6-16 FG, 1-5 3PM)

    Carmelo Anthony – two points, one assist (1-6 FG, 0-1 3PM)

     

    Draft Lottery Results

    1. Minnesota
    2. Golden State
    3. Charlotte
    4. Chicago
    5. Cleveland
    6. Atlanta
    7. Detroit
    8. New York
    9. Washington
    10. Phoenix
    11. San Antonio
    12. Sacramento
    13. New Orleans
    14. Boston (from Memphis)

    Minnesota finished with the third-worst record in the league but was able to squeak by Golden State and nab the top overall pick. Each team finds themselves in contrasting situations as the Warriors expect to be playoff contenders once again, while the Wolves are still trying to build the rest of their roster around the foundation of Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell. The Hornets and Bulls both jumped up while, as usual, the Knicks fell. With eight of the teams in the top-10 in dire need of help and no clear cut stars in the draft it will be interesting to see how it pans out on draft night, whenever that may be.

     

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